Sometimes, I like to let my mind go back a ways and remember the Christmas routine my family had. It takes a while to get to those memories as I have 50ish years of memories to sort through to get to the early Christmas memories. I have several boxes of those in my brain. They are labelled Me as a Child, Christmas with my Young Children, and Christmas After my Children Grew Up. The one I’m going for here is the Me as a Child box.
Every Christmas Eve, my father’s parents would spend the night with us. They arrived about noon and that’s when it would hit me that it really was almost Christmas! Having my grandparents there made it come to life. My mother and grandmother would get busy in the kitchen, and my siblings and I would hover in the background like hungry dogs just waiting for something to drop on the floor.
I’m not saying we were treated like dogs, nor did we act like dogs. We just hoped like crazy that we would be offered a little sampling of the goodies being made!
I probably just don’t remember correctly, but I don’t think we ever got anything early. In my family, any Christmas goodies they made were strictly off-limits until 6pm on Christmas Eve. Then, the big trays of fudge, cookies, candy and soda were brought out and placed on a large folding table. It was now officially “The Night Before Christmas”! I can still get a tingling in my tummy when I think of these memories. It could be residual excitement. But then again, at my age it could be gas. I’m not sure.
Sometime around 8pm, the adults would have their Christmas Cheer (aka drinks). My family has never been drinkers. They each had maybe two drinks each is all, but you could really see and hear the difference! Voices would get louder and laughing would be more frequent. By 10pm we were shooed off to bed and the adults did the same.
On one particular Christmas Eve, my grandpa must have had an extra drink because he took a memorable walk from the living room to the bathroom. Hoisting himself slowly from the chair, he carefully and slowly put one foot in front of the other and made his way through the house. When I say one foot in front of the other, I really mean it. He would meticulously place the heel of one foot directly in front of the toes of the other foot. He never let his eyes leave his feet as he concentrated on going in a straight line. We all watched with fascination until he closed the bathroom door, and then my mom broke out laughing. Soon, everyone joined in. I don’t think I really understood what was going on at the time, but when I was older and knew how drinking could affect you, I got it. Now, it’s actually a memory I will never let go.
Not that I think getting drunk is such a fantastic thing, but they only did this on Christmas Eve, so I never considered it a big deal.
Now, I get to relive all the excitement as I watch the children I care for. It is such a magical time!
I’ m also very glad to see that a lot of parents teach that this is a season of giving. A lot of these kids get as excited to help and give to others as they get to receive gifts!
And now, I must pack up the box of memories for now and get back to present day. Until next time…